Something to stay awake for

Eiko Tanaka sits on her porch sipping her tea. The wind is low and it gently ruffles the shrubs and the hanging golden ash trees that line the boundaries of her little property. So little it seems, barely much room for anyone. Yet hers is a seemingly amble garden on a street so squashed and encroached by looming tower blocks. She is proud of her garden, knowing it blooms brightly in the grey field of city.

She is waiting patiently, as she does most days. She is waiting for her granddaughter to visit after school is finished. She comes by every day. She comes to help her. Eiko doesn’t need help in the usual sense, she has gotten around perfectly fine for years. She adapted well after the incident, but people worry. They care and worry, as her Nanoko tells her. Her granddaughter, only fourteen; yet knowing the many twisted ways of the world. And she is right, there is care mixed with the worry; she can tell. As her own bones are getting more tired and her body is struggling, simple things are not always so simple. Being blind now is only half the battle. The people who visit her always note on her living by herself, always quick to offer some horrendous situation where she’ll meet her end. All because she can no longer see.

It hadn’t always been that way of course. She had lived for years alone in that little house with no problem. Just her and her dog Aio. Then it happened, and though she wished she could erase the memory of that terrible day, she had gotten through the worst of it. The insomnia came later, wreaking such havoc over her little life, disturbing her soul.

Nanoko had been a blessing. Eiko hadn’t wanted any fuss herself, but her granddaughter had done what she could to help her. Eventually she confided in her that she could no longer sleep, she spared her what she saw in her mind when she tried to calm it and be still. So Nanoko had started a blog for her, telling her story to the world, hoping to get some advice and see if anyone else was going through anything similar. She wanted to help her grandmother, she wanted her to be happy after the trauma.

What happened next surprised both of them. Along with similar stories and messages of support, people had responded to Eiko’s problematic sleeping and began to send in short stories for her; something to entertain her through the vast sea of struggle. The first had come with instructions for Nanoko to read out the story to Eiko, seeing as she had lost her sight and was there to help her. This led to Nanoko recording her stories for her grandmother to play back time and again, as she never bored of listening to tales. More people began to send them in, each one fanciful or romantic, scary or thrilling. They would both have fun as Nanoko would act out the story, and she would also post them on the blog for others to enjoy also. It brought them closer, and brought an extra bit of light into Eiko’s darkened world.


My name is Eiko Tanaka and I am 74 years old. I live with my dog Aio, who is always getting into such mischief, despite his age. We are both ageing cheekily and gracefully. I am blind, but not as a result of the shifting clock of time which is unrelenting. I was blinded in an incident which changed my life forever. My granddaughter Nanoko is the light in my darkness. She is there to steady my soul when it wobbles and falls. I love to hear stories and fables, and as such; I thought I best if you read mine, courtesy of my granddaughter.

My story is much like anyone’s….

Click to continue…..


 

CASE 0295 : M-M-R-L-O-N-6-L-E-6-S

Harley Holland

Interviewer: XXXXX
Interviewee: XXXX XXX
Date of interview: XX.XX.2019
Location of interview: XXXXXXXXX, United Kingdom
List of acronyms: SP=XXXX XXX, IN=Interviewer

[Transcript continued from pause 00:32:25]

IN: I need you to confirm the details once again from the start.

SP: Everything? Seriously? Were you not recording from the start?

IN: We were but this is for clarification. Please speak into the microphone clearly.

SP: Where do I start?

IN: When it began. In the afternoon of XXXXXX. You were sleeping?

SP: Yeah, yes… I woke up on from a nap to my neighbours knocking on my door. They had been removing their patio and so I thought they might have wanted to borrow something or have an extra set of helping hands. But there was a problem. They had hit something. They called it a pipe at the time.

IN: And what happened next?

SP: Well…

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Smartly Dressed Violence (part xi)

Click here for previous entries


Karen Winkoski never went by Dr. Winkoski. She didn’t like the airs and graces that came with the title. She wasn’t one to blend into any background either, she liked for her work to do the talking. She had studied synthetic biology for the best part of her career, finding it hard to tread the fine line of ethics and morality in a corporate capitalist system. She had gone off the radar in the past few years, taking her work away from the mainstream to focus on understating S.I.N and finding a reversal. She had established ‘The Order’ as part of her approach to undo the changes that had occurred in her lifetime, and how the corporate and class system had evolved around S.I.N; relegating many to its crippling societal discrimination.

Having come across resistance and unforeseen battles against agencies and individuals; her work was forced underground. This is where it may have slowly died if it wasn’t for a mystical discovery that was brought to her attention by way of a strange visitor. Unlocking parts of the secret had forwarded both her quest for a cure, and to move the benefits of this magic for all; beyond that of disease. A great equaliser.

Karen led them both around the room, showing them the sequencing and extraction machines and impressive hologram units which broke through codes and displayed eerie glowing vignettes of things that Jess could not make sense of.

“The vault is really the heart of our operation. I’m not sure how much you know Jess, or how much you should know; but The Order is no longer working on the solely on reversal of S.I.N in afflicted individuals, but the elevation of all human cells. We’re looking at what S.I.N does to the body, and moving things to the other end of the spectrum; creating cells and tissues resistance to cancer strains, diseases or immune disintegration.”

“Making everyone a superhero, right Bishop?” Levon said, nudging Karen in the side playfully.

“Kind of. While it’s true Jess that we have only selectively reversed certain people, this is not through any discriminatory process. We found that we can only use our reversal pathogen in certain gene types. The virulence is not stable on all cases.” Karen said.

Jess remained silent.

“I won’t go into the stages of success we’ve had over the years, or failures for that matter as I’m sure you can imagine what results we would’ve come across. It wasn’t a pretty process. But we have made huge advances in understanding S.I.N and its makeup, and reversing certain types and halting the mutation.”

“But you have a cure right?” Jess asked, watching Levon pick up a glowing test tube and shaking it, seeing the colours inside change.

Karen sighed.

“It’s not that simple I’m afraid.” She said, taking the test tube from Levon and putting it back in its holder.

“It’s not simple at all, but get to the magic part….that’s the bit everyone is always interested in.” Levon said.

Karen had walked around to the other side of the large metal table. She looked at them both, placing her hands on the bench before her.

“You know of The Altered, you know what this world has offered us. It has brought about a way of slicing through the darkness in our science, and has shone a light into that void. We call those within the order Saints, Bishops, Teachers and Priests; invoking a religious space and veil of mysticism. And in a way, it is. But the magic is ruled by its own decrees and laws. There are limitations to it and things we don’t understand. With the help of The Order, and the work we do here in the vault, we are marrying the two worlds together to understand the science behind the mutation for those suffering, and moving it to a space where we aren’t all just equal; but better than before. Our vow is to right a terrible wrong, not just for some; but for all. Our work is leading towards one great event to cure everyone.” She breathed out noisily, as if completing an affirmation.

She stared at both of them, letting the gravity of what she said hit each of them. Karen knew Levon’s circumstance, and she knew too of the likes of Jess. Soldiers in a war fighting with only have of the picture. She was brave and an idealist, but making moves with only part of the information.

“So what can we do?” Jess asked, looking Karen squarely in the eyes.

“The first thing is to be baptised.” Karen replied.

Jess scoffed slightly, a look of satisfaction coming over her.

“I’ve already been baptised, for nearly six months now.” Jess replied, cockily. Karen looked over to Levon, he looked away smiling.

“You can read the incantations, and I imagine you can generate the mind projections. Right?” Karen asked her.

Jess took a moment, knowing now where this was heading.

“Yeah.” She said.

“Which is a good start, I bet it wasn’t easy as it can be painful when you first begin.” Karen took out small book from her lab coat pocket, followed by a small viral; its contents glowing blue. “But you have yet to be baptised using anything from the altered I would assume?”

Jess was quiet.

“Levon here is a mystery to us still, what he can do and how his body reacts with the magic is still beyond our understanding. But there are some of us who do react more with the powers and the magic this mystic world offers. We have found ways to enhance ourselves to it, and as a result; can aid our efforts towards our goal. Initial steps, baptism for example, shows a commitment and entry to this world that we must keep secret and safe for now. But it also has physical and practical changes to our bodies.” Karen said, shaking the little vial.

“I want to help, I want to change what this world has come to.” Jess said, watching the vial hypnotically.

“Then you’re in the right place.” Karen replied, smiling. “Are you ready?” She asked.

Jess nodded. She was knowledgeable about much of the Order, having been eager to enter and do her part. She had met Levon this way, the strange cleanser who knew more than her would ever tell. She longed to help, and have a function.

She tipped her head forward and slowly removed both of her eyes.


 

Leave us where we lay

His heart, now the colour of his wife.
Ashen grey and broken.
The urn smashed, scattering them both across the clouds.
Little flecks of life stuck on the window of the world.
As the volcanoes rumbled and the gods groaned.
Down they both came in the rains.
Licked up by the wood spirits and the humans below.
Pooling in the heart of the world.
Cells and shells, finding the seabed of the soul.
Undulating to sound of time.
Those tears of the gods which fell in this passing.
Are drunken only by the sinners, like sweet wine.

The Box

Soans Rezones

I’m not a great story teller. I can’t weave stories the way some people do, effortlessly. But yeah, I dream stories. Whatever few stories I’ve written happened in my dreams. ‘The Box’ is a personal favourite, perhaps because it was the first story that I wrote.

Little Myra was the first one to see it in the morning. It lay there in its entire splendour, a beautiful silver box with a big blue bow on top. She screamed in delight. It was the most beautiful box that she had ever seen. Her howls brought in a rush of footsteps towards the room. Soon there was a small motley of people in the room. The elders were amused and the young ones were awestruck. They all had the same questions in mind, how, when and from where had the box come? No one dared to touch the box. It was then…

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Wish the end

Simple words say more in silence.
Like the break between heartbeats.
Like waves hitting the sand.
To swim or drown in your fiery light.
You cover your eyes with intent.
Stealing the beauty away.
Keep us trapped.
Keep us safe.
Locked into your skin like DNA.
Longing after life’s mystery.
Build the pyre from your bones and burn me inside out.
Collapsing into your cells.
A martyr for your majesty.
Burning the past away, leaving only the gold.
Tasting sweat and love with each gulp of air.
The salt from your waves.
Here is where you’ll find me.
Here is where I wish to end.

Nothing lasts forever

Heaven begins to collapse.
Those words begin to relapse.
And these pockets of affection slip back into your soul.
For without them you can’t feel whole.
My love is not enough it seems.
To break the skin, and split the seams.
These wings cannot comfort, in the oncoming storm.
Now this connection becomes unborn.
And you slip away in the dark when the night covers.
Lying to yourself, and others.
That you are only what you need.
When it’s the love you begin to recall.
And with it, angels falls.

Smartly dressed violence (part x)

Click here for previous entries


It was just a short trip by air to the processing site near the west port. Flying over the city, you could see a sense of order and refinement. The skyscrapers gleamed, and the roads were angular and planned out. The public transport operated on a level never before seen in the world. This wasn’t dirty congested tubes that racketed around on tracks, here the elegant transit sparkled like the buildings, ferrying commuters in style and luxury to their destinations using the latest magnetised technology.

Aiko looked now over the cityscape, pondering over the order and the harmony below. He saw his own technology zip through the streets, part of his ever growing empire of business and wealthy assets. His fingerprints lay over much of what he saw and he smiled at the dominance that stretched out before him. There was order and cleanliness, structure and control; gifts he believed he had given the city. And the city had rewarded him, never knowing his true identity or intentions.

His transport landed on atop of the processing plant which churned and heaved below him. Steam and smog bellowed noisily into refinery pipes and containment vacuums. Though the plant was sleek and modern, its processes’ were old and dirty, expelling the residues and filth into areas of the west side that he paid a lot of money hide. Oh course, those who lived there made their own uses for the by-products, and cottage industries had risen up around the site that took advantage of the unwanted.

He made his way swiftly inside, eventually entering a vast circular meeting room that hung with nervous people, eager to see what the visit was all about. Many were smartly dressed, but a few wore clothes tailored to factory floors more than board rooms. Almost forty people filled the room, silently waiting for Aiko to speak. He entered through the circular desks and stopped in the centre of the room, the lights illuminating from below giving him an almost angelic appearance.

“Thank you all for coming to this hastily arranged meeting. I am very pleased with how the plant has functioned recently due to certain demands made, and your overall contribution to Atone-industries. As you are aware, this is only the first phase in our outlined projections for the city and surrounding suburbs. Phase II will begin shortly, and as expressed previously, this will require a relocation to sites in facilities Het and Bet underneath the city. Many of you will be familiar with these sites, but those who are not; you are soon to be amazed by these sites.”

A few pocketed whispers began around the room, reassurance began to seep in and some smiled.

“The timeline has been accelerated due to your success here and I would like to thank you for your efforts. Each department will have a briefing following this meeting, and relocation A.I’s will be on hand to transport and reconfigure all for the next stage. Those of you who have requested additional family cleansing and assessment, this has been approved by myself and will also begin immediately.”

Applause and smiles now filled the room.

“I needn’t remind anyone here that this is a delicate situation and technically takes place outside of the realms of legality. As such, I will remind you all of your legal bonding to the NDA’s and contractual stipulations you have all signed.”

The applause faded, but the smiles remained. Many in the room had been waiting all their lives for this to happen.

“Wonderful. Then let me thank you again for your effort, and here’s to Phase II.”

Applause broke out again, and Aiko bowed respectfully before making his way out of the room. Those who remained quickly dissolved into chatter, and the room filled with the sound of hurried cheerful voices creeping up the walls like happy lizards.

Aiko made his way down a corridor followed by Stefan, he entered an office with a large glass window which looked out over the port.  Stefan came to a stop one side of the desk while Aiko looked out over the sea.

“What is the timeline we are now looking at?” Aiko asked him calmly.

“I would say just under a week. If we are to process everyone and their families. The AI’s are in place so we only need to do a systems check.” Stefan replied, checking a hologram tablet in front of him.

“Good. And the system failure scenario, I have access to that now?” Aiko asked, his gaze locked on the horizon out at sea.

“Yes, your access codes are here.” Stefan said, sending something over to him remotely using the hologram. “The staff relocation….” He began.

“Should be of the highest importance, and secrecy. Building 70 is complete and is ready for the intake. The views are fantastic there, they’ll have a better vista than either you or I.” Aiko said. Stefan smiled and ticked something off a list.

“There are some things that I’m not quite sure of still….” He began, but Aiko cut in.

“Then you are not to know of it yet I would presume. Everything in time.” Aiko replied.

“But the source….” Stefan tried again, confidentially. At this Aiko turned to face him, slipping out a small book from his inside pocket. He held it down in front of him like precious hymn book.

“Is not your concern.” Aiko said. And with than, Stefan nodded and turned to depart, leaving Aiko alone in the room which began to glow a faint blue behind him.


Falling into the sky

What burns, are just the remains.
Stupid parts, not protected.
Cells that claim to be free.
Yet remain divided.
It’s so easy to escape, but then it will all be over.
Covered in dust and wonderment.
The skin of a dead society.
Strip away the flesh, make me someone else.
Threaded with distaste and apathy.
A patience wains and cuts a last strand.
The scars of life will never heal.
This breathing makes me weak.
Put your eyes on my memory.
And see why I must depart.
This spirit has been overcome.
The sky calls me home.

Conflict(ed)

The ticking clock moves my bones.
Vibrating to a new chorus.
Such fear and bravery dogfight within.
Triggering the gunfire in my heart.
Bringing other humans to their knees.
It stains this soul.
Are we cast out of Eden?
Ordered here under the guilt of honour.
Directed there by badges that shimmer in the sorrow.
A broken moral compass, scratched by time.
Left stranded out to sea.
Struck by the passing grief of that tide.
The one that washed over me.
Seeing death in the eyes of those all around.
Feeling hope strangled, feeling fear take hold.
Who really wins the fight, when we lose ourselves in the struggle?
Stretched and stricken, sunk by the force of your hate.
Every tear here brings the ocean higher.
With every cry, a family welcomes in a stranger.
A void, the blackness. The stories to tell a generation.
Of the great fight, that felt so wrong.

Harley Holland

When a person or neighbour in your village cries out “troll”, lock your children inside the house and keep your hunting rifle by your side. I used to believe they were only children’s tales supposed to scare the kids from stepping deep into caves or under bridges. They had bright pink hair and you stuck them onto the end of your pencil. There was nothing to fear because they were nowhere to be seen.

This all changed a few years ago. I was walking Hunter through the forest on a warm Summer’s day. He was off the lead and jumping through bushes and hopping over streams and rarely waited for me. But when I stopped to tie my shoes I looked up and he was gone. There was nothing but the faint groans of pigs. I moved through the bushes closer to the noise and to stop Hunter from scaring…

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Smartly Dressed Violence (part ix)

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The blue and green lights seemed to call them onward encouragingly, radiating from the walls like a welcoming glow. Jess and Levon descended lower with each step, feeling a warmer air greet them as they went. Jess could hear a pulsating sonic sound coming from the walls, as if large computer systems were speaking to each other through the stone or mutterings of the dead from the graves.

“Is it always this elaborate, going to see him?” Jess asked, minding her head as they came to a low beam section.

“I thought you might like the clandestine way.” Levon said. He had been here before, naturally; but they also seemed to change the systems of entry frequently. “And who said anything about a him?”

Jess looked at him for a moment, confusion and understanding swimming around each other.

“The Bishop is a she?” She asked, hoping to sound less surprised than she was. Levon smiled at her.

“Change anything?” He asked her.

“Not a damn bit.” She replied, lying slightly.

They carried on down the stairs until they came to a less formal but equally solid door. A blue strip of light bathed the space outside the door and Levon stopped just before it.

“You first.” He said, nudging her forward towards the light. Jess stepped into it and suddenly changed to a deeper blue.

“It checks for contaminants, among other things.” Levon said, watching as the light hummed and pulsed over her.

“Let me guess what the other things are, S.I.N markers perhaps?” She said, irksomely.

“You be surprised what they check for.” He replied, noticing the light switch to green; followed by a successful ‘tink’ sound, like the finishing of a coffee machine.

“Looks like you’re good.” He said as she stood back and he stood forth into the light.

“Hmmph.” Came from Jess as she stood back and watched Levon go through the same process. It took longer, but he too received the same acceptance, and once complete the doors before them opened and they could see inside the room.

Before them a laboratory had been made up around the stone coffins, clearly down deep in a crypt under the church. About four people peppered the room, working at stations and swirling strange coloured liquids in tubes under lights. Computers and machines clicked and hummed and the same blue and green lights gently lit the space; washing the walls with a calm and sanctuary like illumination. Coming towards them suddenly came a woman dressed in a lab coat. A red face mask covered her mouth, but Jess could see she had kind gentle eyes. She pulled the mask down as she approached them both.

“Nice to see you Levon, a treat indeed for you to come down into the vault and see us.” She extended her hand towards Jess who noticed the red gloves that extended up to her elbow. “And you must be Jess, so nice to meet you. I’m Karen.” Jess extended her own hands and shook them.

“Nice to meet you too.” Jess said, looking around the room.

“Not many get to see the vault, so please excuse the mess.” Karen said. Jess noticed little mess, but large extraction machines, screens scrolling through vast amounts of data and blueprint plans tacked up on a board on the other side of the room. The effigy of a saint looked down upon them from above.

“Jess doesn’t know anything, I thought it best to leave it to you to explain what goes on.” Levon said, with a smirk across his face. Karen sighed, leading them in further to the room.

“I hope you don’t have the same disdain as Levon does for what we do here then, his attitudes become quite tiresome sometimes.” Karen said, smiling.

“Not just his attitude, he’s quite a pain most of the time.” Jess said, returning the smile to her.

“Siding with the Bishop already, who’d have thought?” Levon cut back to her. Jess looked surprised.

“Oh Levon, you and your names for people. Should I call you The Cleanser then, or do you prefer your usual name devoid of the implications or grandiose expectations?” She asked him coyly. Levon smiled back, enjoying the teasing.

“You…you’re the bishop then?” Jess asked, folding her arms both defensively and from an anger.

“I’m afraid I am, for all my faults.” Karen said, he face remaining warm and open.

“And you’re not ashamed for what you’ve caused people, what your system of selection has done. Playing god the way you do?” Jess was angry, but she was trying her best to stay calm.

“I understand you have a personal qualm with me and what we do then?” Karen replied.

“Not just me, many. When you can help the all and yet only choose the few.” Jess spat back. “You have the means to cure everyone, but you limit to whom you feel are warrant of changing. How are you any different from the others, or the likes of Akio?”

Karen let her speak, understanding of her compliant. She then calmly took off her gloves, revealing a blackness that stained its way up her arms.

“I will show you how.” She said, her eyes flaring with an excitement.


 

Stolen sky

Watching high from miles above.
A silent watcher, like a mourning dove.
Sees the world bend and sway.
As he cranks the moon to life each day.
And so he watches as the world turns over.
In dusty pools, while supernovas.
Crash and burn his aching heart.
For a world he loves, he sees torn apart.
Which leads him down into despair.
While comets and stars alight the air.
And move on in time with disregard.
Of his moment here, or collapsing heart.

Sirens

Like a ship lost at sea.
Suffering in circumstance.
Battling the waves.
The tempest explodes and soaks each bone.
Weighted already by lack and distrust.
Yet in the surf the song swells.
A calling, rippling over the wounds.
Run away, if you were to listen closely.
But the beauty forgoes all sense of reason.
What was really meant for you and I?
Seems fallen from the perfect sky.
And dances now in the sea, for we; crying into ecstasy.
They touch us deep, and lick the skin.
An immodest turn that welcomes the watchers.
Hungry eyes devour each weakness.
Humility is placed in dirty pockets.
Like an apple, in the mouth of the fallen.
These sirens call, with whispers and smoke.
Consuming the threads of morals, which catch in their throats.
They will have their way, and destroy all before them.
Collapsing in a sweet undoing.
As we fall to the bottom of the sea.
And they retreat, to shadows and forest of opportunity.
Silence there, and nothing more.

The Poets Symphony

chrisnelson61

.

I am absolutely delighted and thrilled to be able to announce the forthcoming release of ‘The Poets Symphony’ from RawEarthInk.
Edited by Tara Caribou, this collection of poetry features work from some of the most talented writers around, collated into one fine anthology.
Released on May 15th, in both ebook and physical form, this is a must for lovers of poetry and music alike.

Lulu (paperback):

https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/tara-caribou/the-poets-symphony/paperback/product-1dgprw7w.html

Barnes & Noble (paperback):

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-poets-symphony-tara-caribou/1136905905

Amazon (paperback):

Amazon (kindle version):

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Smartly Dressed Violence (part viii)

Click here for previous entries

Jess was by the front door of Levon’s apartment, she seemed eager to go.

“Come on then, I assume you’re ready?” She asked.

Levon stood and watched her a moment, his mind navigating through what he had seen and trying to work out if it was achievable.

“You think that will work?” Levon asked, his face subduing tiny flickers of hope.

“You got a better plan?” Jess asked before adding. “Unless you want to just hide away and let this unfold without you?”

“Don’t make out you don’t need me for this.” Levon cut back.

Jess rolled her eyes, expecting this type of reply.

“Come on, we can get there before they shut.” Jess said with urgency. Levon walked towards the door, taking a biker jacket off a hook and putting it on. He stopped in front of Jess.

“Fine, but we’re not going there. You want my help, then I need make sure I can give it.” Levon said.

“What do you mean?” Jess asked, surprised.

“You’re coming to see the Bishop.” Levon said, intrigued to see her reaction. Jess took a moment, looking away as if looking for the right words over on the wall. She turned back to him, her eyes wide.

“About time.” She said, hiding the feeling he knew she had. And with that they both set off out the door, each holding their own little books tightly to them as they made their way down in the elevator.

They sped down the twenty eight floors quickly, not talking as they went. The exited out into a small lobby and then to the street which was moving with a bustle of city life. Well-dressed men and women crowded the sidewalk, each going off to their own little space and place to be. Levon and Jess attracted a few stares, their clothing did not fit and their overall look of rough and readiness did not blend in well. They moved on through the crowd, making their way to the tram stop.

As the tram came to a stop, more people exited, brushing past them both; the two of them together seemed to double the disgust of the others. Some of them tutted as they passed, while others barged into them purposefully. One woman stopped and jabbed her umbrella into Levon’s side.

“You two should fuck off the streets while decent people are about. Shouldn’t you be driving the tram, not riding in it?” She said, scornfully addressing them and looking them both up and down. Others smiled and nodded in agreement as they went on by.

Jess made a move forward, but Levon pulled her back.

“It’s not worth it.” He said, quietly to her. He then spoke to the woman who had jabbed at him.

“We’re sorry, it’s an emergency. We wouldn’t be travelling now if we didn’t have to.” He said, noticing how busy it was. The rush hour was always the worse for this type of thing. Levon could pass sometimes, he would blend in with his outfits and manner. But Jess stood out like a sore thumb, dressed in casual combat gear and dyed hair. Conformity was not something Jess subscribed to.

“I should think not. We don’t want to see your lot, I thought that was clear by now. Get out of my way.” The lady said, pushing past them with her umbrella. Jess mumbled something under her breath, but then made her way onto the tram; followed by Levon.

They stayed at the back while it snaked its way across the city, emptying and refilling as it went. They received more unwelcomed looks, but no one else approached them. Finally they reached the stop they wanted, exiting out by some gardens that sprawled off into the distance. They waited for the tram to move on and quickly crossed the road on the other side. More gardens greeted them as the huge black church loomed above. They turned left, making their way down a side street that looped around the back of the church. Here they found a small building opposite the left transept. It had a large ornate wooden door with a knocker in the shape of a cross.

Jess and Levon looked around. The sky was getting dark, but they could still see the street from the doorway. A few heads bobbed along, but no-one was really watching. Ignoring the knocker, Levon put his fist into a small alcove at the side of the door as a little blue light appeared and scanned his hand. A click and a whirl, and a chain dropped for him to pull, which he did and then stepped back. The door opened before them as the ground also dropped away, revealing a staircase down into a blue and green lit corridor.

“How cool is that.” Jess said, noticing the marks on Levon’s hand; tattoos she’d always thought meant nothing.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Levon replied, stepping forward down onto the stairs. Jess followed him as the door quickly closed behind them and they descended.

Let the dead in

Those little lights above my head.
Calling the skin to murmur.
It prickles the spine to know, I’m not alone.
I can’t remember when I was lost.
Wandering in the fog on a wavering strength.
These pulsating voices call, welcoming me back.
Those faces remain.
Allowed in to suffocate the bloodstream.
Occupying every darkened corner.
We let the dead in.
Taking everything but understanding.
For they are welcomed by an impulse.
An idea that creeps in when the darkness takes hold.
Better to be surrounded then end up alone.
Yet I was the last to know.

‘Nothing but I am’ – New novel

COMING SOON

She left the earth how she wanted, walking into the ocean as the stars above sparkled in their preciousness. She hoped to join them, to transform into something that burned with a power a millions miles away from here. Her departure may be one of sadness, but it was by her own choosing. It was her own way to transform.

‘Nothing but I am’ follows the life of Eleanor, as read through her journal in her final days on the planet. It washes over her hopes and dreams, loves and despairs at the hands of fate and the disturbance of states that begin to corrode her life. Her death imprints itself on a police officer trying to unpick meaning in her demise as she goes through her words and thoughts left in her journal.

A hybrid poetry and fiction novel, marrying poems with journal entries surrounded by a story of departure.

To be lost, was how she found her soul. Cast away on that tiny little craft of self. On no-one’s tide. Swallowing only her own light. This is how she hoped it could be All loss of time and space, never found. And s


 

Elevated point of view

In those eyes, there came a knowing.
A glance and fall, like a candle blowing.
Within that heart I felt a tear.
A wounded bird, tumbling mid-air.
And though tears cannot blur from view.
The rushing ground or distance from you.
I feel a heaven in my heart.
A glowing love struggles to depart.
So I close my eyes and hold my breath.
Into your eyes, I meet my death.

Je Suis Désolé

Down deep, beyond the rib-cage and the flecks of pride.
Lies a guilt, heavy like the tear from god.
It sits silently, weighted by time.
How many grudges have been held?
Placed on this mantel, pride of place.
These bones, once hollow, fill now with coal.
Snap them, and dust will fill your lungs.
Worse than tar, the blackness invades.
It blankets my body inside and out.
Layering over the precious stone of apology.
Sorry.
What a treasured word.
Seemingly too short, it should feel longer.
Spoken like a heavy prayer that presents its importance.
I am sorry.
Now with ownership and agency.
For time is precious, as are these tears.
Bled out in true remorse.
I am sorry for you, what has been done.
Sorry that the past cannot be un-spun.
An apology that starts with me, back in the beginning.
Rolling back time like pages in a book.
Each one filled with the ink of the soul.
And this apology ends with you.
For what is to occur next, in a breath of a life waiting to exhale.
In the unwritten, yet contrite touched pages of my skin.
That keep my sorrys within.

SMARTLY DRESSED VIOLENCE (PART VII)

Click here for previous entries

Across the city, at the time Levon had come out from the altered, Akio Tsutsumi sat at his desk high up in the 101 building. The skyscraper on the south side of the city looked off over to the port where, if he was looking, he would see the ferries leaving the docks and making their way out to the ocean. Akio wasn’t looking out at the view, high up on the 101st floor, he was finalising a document with a smile. The final flourish of his signature completed the task and he set his pen to the side and sat back in his chair. Akio Tsutsumi was impeccably dressed, he had to be; he was at work. His business, his building, his empire here on earth. Or at least the headquarters of an empire that stretched far across the globe. The problem with empires, and to those that want after them, is that they are never enough. There is always more to conquer, more to have, and more to consume.

This notion of greed had plagued Akio since he was a child. Growing up in conditions he would let no-one privy to now, he had been incensed by his circumstance. He had watched as others had excelled, moved on and up with all the niceties that a life could offer. While he had remained, reduced down to an allotted placement and allowance in the order of things. But Akio would dig himself out of the circumstance, he would bloom like a flower out of the mud of life and never forget where he had started. For many, this would have led to an understanding of the unbalance, perhaps even campaign to end the wrongful ways the world was turning in. But for Akio, he had been damaged and maligned. Broken and used by both sides of the system. He removed any shame that might stick to his cells along with the S.I.N, and in its place he filled it with anger and contempt. Not entirely however. Akio’s secret could indeed be his undoing; a fact that he was well aware of. And he took great care to protect and hide this, whatever it took.

A further step in this direction was what was contained in the documents, now signed, sitting on his desk.

Akio pushed back form the large wooden desk before him and stood up. He straightened his smart expensive suit, a suit that cost more than his assistant Stefan earned in a year, and called him into his office. Stefan looked agitated as he entered, uncertain perhaps of what was happening. Akio usually set very strict routines, ones you could set your overpriced watch by, and today’s activity so far had changed many of them.

“Yes sir?” Stefan asked, lingering in the door area of the huge office space.

Akio had now turned away, looking out of the window. He watched the boats out to sea, the huge ferries passing the smaller ones seemingly not to notice them bob frantically as they passed. He remained staring off out the window.

“How long have you worked for me Stefan?” Akio asked, pleasantly.

“Almost a year sir.” Stefan replied. He loosed the top button to his Oxford shirt.

“And in that time, have I asked you to do anything for me that goes against your, shall we say, moral compass?”

Stefan paused for moment before answering, he reached inside his own mind both looking for a truthful reply and balancing it off with the correct one.

“No, not to my knowledge. I find you to be a very honourable person, and if I might add; someone to aspire to be like.” Stefan said sincerely. And it was true, many of the others would trade places with him in a heartbeat. Akio was the epitome of success and class.

“You’re very kind Stefan. You’ve always spoken honestly, which is why I trust you.” Akio turned now to face him, offering him a smile. “I trust then you feel the same as I with the west side.”

Stefan looked at him, unsure.

“How the west side of the city is a blot on our greatness. A pebble in the shoe of our progress. A blight, a cancerous tumour in all we wish this city to be.” Akio said. He stood proudly, hands folded down in front of him as if posing for a magazine cover.

“Well, yes the area there is very dilapidated. It could all use some gentrification in my opinion. Some nice suburbs and a change of clientele.” Stefan said.

Akio beamed.

“Exactly, a change in clientele. That’s what is needed.” Akio said.

“But it’s been proposed for years, and nothing ever came of it. The sinners have legal protection for their ghettos and housing projects. We’d never be able to have them removed.” Stefan offered.

“No, I agree. They will never leave. They are stuck to that area like a barnacle on a ship.” His voice was soft, devoid of any emotion. “But then, accidents happen all the time. Don’t they?”

Stefan stared at him. He shuffled his own expensive shoes nervously.

“All the time.” Stefan replied, his own hatred massaged by unfolding suggestions. A hatred which he was free now to express, with the privilege of position.

“Accidents and calamities. Acts of God.” Akio added, pulling the cuff to his suit down, straighten it.

Constraint

Traded in for bruises that fade.
Caught between fists that flurry.
But if you could see yourself.
What control has been sacrificed?
Rolled over into shame.
Mastered nothing but regret.
This secret life, lost in your dreams.
What does any of this mean?
Domestic in the normalising.
Abused yourself by remaining.
Worried now, they know it all too well.
Pull the blind down and shut your eyes.
Count to ten.
As the clock ticks closer to midnight.
And you look a little more worried.
A solitary cry in the night.
From a boy mirroring the wolves.
At your door.